Building a rod from a blank [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Building a rod from a blank

08-04-2002, 10:21 PM

I am new to the sport and want to get a good outfit for brakish and light saltwater fishing. I bought an Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor III on eBay and I'm looking for a nice 7 weight rod to go along with it. (Preferrably a four pc.)

I wonder if anybody has had any experience with building their own rod from a blank. There's a site where you can get G Loomis blanks pretty cheap and they sell kits for finishing them. What kind of quality can I expect from a rod that I finish myself specially if I've never done this before?

The blank and the kit runs about $150 for a rod that could cost twice that if bought already finished. Would I be better off just buying a $150 to $200 rod like a Temple Fork Saltwater, Redington RS2 or Wayfarer, or St. Croix Imperial? Which of the finish rods do you recommend? They also sell Elk Horn kits which have a warranty (the G Loomis blanks don't), but I've never heard of them. Does anybody have any experience with these rods?

Finally, how do I know that the blanks are genuine since the website says that they don't have labels? Any guidance will be highly appreciated.


Nooksack Mac
08-06-2002, 02:07 AM
For many of us, building our own rods is a major adjunct to fly-fishing - just like fly-tying. For your first one, you should either be mentored by someone who's done it before, and/or read something; you need to know how to find the blank's spine, and about guide spacing. After that, just go ahead and enjoy the experience. Your rod won't look as factory-finished as even an inexpensive Korean-assembled model, but it will be more meaningful to you as you use it in the years to come.
And if I'm any example, if you build one rod, it won't be long before you're building another one.

08-06-2002, 12:39 PM
Assuming that since you mention brackish ans salt water you are refering to single handed rods? I have an Elkhorn 8 ft 4wt 4 pc factory rod that I find comparable in action to the old Sage light line series, which is fine for a 4 wt small stream rod. I have heard some negative reports about their "lifetime" warranty though. Although Loomis does not openly advertise a blanket lifetime warranty as some of the other manufacters do they do stand behind their products reasonably well. The big rub, regardless of who made the blank, is that if you break it, they are only going to replace the broken section of the blank. You will have to re-wrap it. Dont break the butt section!

Some manufactures offer some (not all) of their rods at prices so attractive it does not pay to buy the blank and wrap the rod. St Criox Spey rods, for example, $230 to $260 finished rod, with case, and lifetime (you break it, they will fix it) no questions asked warranty. I doubt you could buy the blank, corks, reel seat, guides and case for that. Temple Fork is another good example. Loomis sells what are refered to as entry level outfits, the Pescador is an 8 wt rod, reel, line, backing, and case. Cabelas has 5 and 7 pc rods and outfits.

Don't let anyone kid you. Some of today's "entry level" rods are as good as the premium rods we all paid big bucks for five or ten rears ago.

Until you have spent some time with fly rods, you probably won't notice the difference between the "entry level" and the top of the line anyway, except for your pocketbook.:chuckle:

08-06-2002, 09:08 PM
Good comments above, with all of the good fly rods on the market now under $ 250 for a first fly rod I would buy one rather than building your own (which I have done). I doubt if you could get the blank, guides, reel seat etc. for much less than $ 200. It will take some time to prepare and build your own. Perhaps several weekends or more depending on your time availability.

This it time you could use actually fishing with a purchased rod. Thats the way I would go. Get on the water and start getting experience and having fun fly fishing. Build a rod later. For the light saltwater fishing it appears you want to do I would go with a 7/8 weight rod which has a small fighting butt.

I was fly fishing 22 years before I built a rod 20 years ago. Now have 12 fly rods (I think). Some have not been used in years.

Note, it is not hard to build a fly rod but you will need to be patient on your first one.

Personally, I would rather be out there fishing than sitting building a rod.

Good Luck